Monday, August 23, 2004

August 23, 2004
I usually don’t go to BJ’s Tombstone History Discussion Forum but uncle Gus keeps me posted, from time to time. For example, here’s Wyatt Earp author Timothy Fattig’s recent critique of True West: “Some day I sincerely expect the Bobs to put the picture of the decapitated ‘Black Jack’ Ketchum on one of their covers. Ah, for the salad days when it was a ‘square’ Oklahoma mag, on non-slick paper, and there was a Metz, O’neal, Shirley, or Parsons in every single issue! And artists like Zaboly, Napolitano, Ignarski and Willis in every single issue! Hosstail, where have you gone?”

This would be irritating, if it wasn’t so humorous. The reason it isn’t printed on pulp paper in Oklahoma anymore is because they were going broke doing it. Leon Metz’s scholarship was featured in our last issue (and he’s working on a cover story even as you read this), Glenn Shirley is definitely missed, but when I last looked he is still dead. We recently featured the artwork of Gary Zaboly and Al Napolitano. As for artist Larry Willis, I got a funny card and note from him a while back. Here’s part of what Larry had to say: “Due to the rancor in the Old West history community, I pulled back from it for awhile. During my self-imposed hiatus True West has remained my touchstone in keeping up on the latest findings in old west history and upcoming entertainment. I enjoy that True West has a personality, don’t ever lose that and become a dry rag.”

Well, enough petty tit for tat. No, I lied—here's one more: I really loved it when Gus brought me this exchange today between fellow history nut Bill Dunn, of Georgia, as he laid into a “Western” historian type:

“What’s the difference between Western boots and Cowboy boots? On Cowboy boots, the BS is on the outside.”
—Bill Dunn, curator of the Doc Holliday Museum in Griffin, Georgia. Check it out at

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